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Biographical entry Gordon, Ian James (1924 - 1999)

MRCS and FRCS 1954; MB ChB Aberdeen 1946; FRACS 1961.

29 October 1924
14 October 1999
General surgeon


Ian James Gordon was a consultant surgeon in Bendigo, Australia. He was born in Aberdeen on 29 October 1924. His father, James Lendrum Gordon, was a mercantile marine officer and his mother, Mary Ironside Sherriffs, was the daughter of a farmer. He was educated at Robert Gordon's College, Aberdeen, where he played rugby and was an outstanding cricketer. He won a scholarship to Aberdeen University, supporting himself by working during the summer vacation, cutting timber, harvesting, pulling flax and sorting potatoes. At Christmas he worked at the railway station, handling mail bags.

He was house surgeon to William Anderson and Norman Logie at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Chase Farm Hospital, Enfield, and was casualty registrar at Hammersmith and later at Edgware, where he gained considerable experience in urology, and became clinical assistant at St Peter's Hospital to Alec Badenoch. In 1949 he married Nonette Harris-Wright, who he had met at Chase Farm when they were both house officers. Later she became consultant radiologist to the Royal Free and Barnet Hospitals. By now they had two young sons, and Ian and Nonette moved to Mildura Base Hospital, Australia, as medical superintendent and honorary surgeon. There he found the wards full of men with suprapubic tubes and women with fractured necks of the femur: he introduced transurethral resection of the prostate and Smith Peterson nailing.

In 1961 they moved to Bendigo, where he went into partnership with Eugene Sandner, and was consultant surgeon and honorary urologist to the Bendigo Base Hospital. He was appointed supervisor of surgical training for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, was an active member of the AMA and a member of the state council of the Australian Association of Surgeons.

In 1982 he underwent open-heart surgery for an aortic valve replacement and coronary by-pass, returning to work as busily as ever three months later. In 1986 he was found to have carcinoma of the prostate, and retired in 1989, turning his interest to politics, becoming campaign manager for the Liberal Party in his state. He celebrated his golden wedding in 1999 and died later that year on 14 October. He was survived by his wife, son Neil, a surgeon, who succeeded him in his post at Bendigo Hospital, and two younger sons, Lindsay and Alistair. There are six grandchildren.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Med J Aust 2000 172 448, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England